Why the Gospel Jesus is (still) apocalypticist

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
Giuseppe
Posts: 6253
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Why the Gospel Jesus is (still) apocalypticist

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:39 am

According to dr. Carrier, the Gospel Jesus is apocalypticist because the his inventor was still apocalypticist.

But reading the following passage of Luke 12, I find an alternative explanation:

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The question of Peter is meant to exorcise the risk of a Gnostic interpretation of that «little flock»: are they ( = who has to be saved) only the Perfects, the true Gnostics, or the entire Church?

The question was raised by a real historical fact witnessed by the evangelist: the Gnostics lived in an estatic condition of «realized eschatology», i.e. the «Kingdom of God» was already among them, since they - and only they - were possessed by the Spirit.

The strong evidence of their belief in a realized eschatology was just their anti-nomianism: all the earthly laws have to be broken, since Jesus had already destroyed - only for them - all these laws. Traces of this anti-nomianism are just in the following passage:

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.


In the real past, these «men and women» who abandoned themselves «to eat and drink and get drunk» were paradoxically just the true apocalypticist Christians who are attacked by the Gospel Jesus in the verses 45-46. Their apocalypticism was so strong that it was de facto translated in deliberate anti-nomianism. A form of religious libertinism.

Hence, the preservation of an apocalypticist Jesus in the Gospel(s), despite of the fact that the apocalyptism was confuted by the facts (the delay of Parusia), was extremely useful to exorcise the risk that the dangerous fruit of an excessive spiritual possession, the belief in a «realized eschatology», supported too much the Gnostic elitism.

Something as:

(the same historical Jesus has said that) the end is still to come. Therefore don't believe that the your excessive enthusiasm is evidence of the presence of «Christ» in yourself.

Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Post Reply